The Kurdistan Workers Party(PKK) has announced the creation of a new autonomous region in northern Iraq, a step that could provoke more intense Turkish strikes over the locations of the group designated by Ankara and several Western countries as a terrorist entity.
In a statement circulated by Kurdish media, and quoted by London-based The New Arab newspaper, the group declared a new autonomous region in Qandil mountains, comprising five areas.
The declaration was made in the presence of "300 political figures", the statement said, adding that "the next step would be to elect an administration for the region and to start construction".
No official response was made by the Iraqi government.
The group has fought for an independent region for Turkey's Kurds since the 1980s.
PKK and Turkish military encounters resumed in July 2015 for the first time since the militia announced a pullout from Turkish territory in 2013. The battles resumed after PKK accused Ankara of failure of protecting Kurds following an Islamic State attack that killed 32 Kurds at a town near the borders with Syria.
Turkey's military regularly carries out airstrikes on PKK fighters' locations in northern Iraq, announcing the killing of many.